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New court date set for teen charged in Lily Peters murder

What the prosecution, defense and judge decided at Thursday's hearing for the 14-year-old defendant
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 5:49 AM CDT|Updated: May. 5, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A teen charged with killing 10-year-old Lily Peters in Chippewa Falls had a brief court appearance Thursday.

The 14-year-old boy, identified only by his initials, C.P-B., appeared via video conference with his new attorney, Michael Cohen. Chippewa County Judge Benjamin Lane said the criminal complaint in the case will be made public in the coming days, possibly Friday or Monday. The complaint will have redactions to remove the names and ages of the suspect and the victim, even though the victim’s information was made public during a search when she was missing.

The defense had objected to Judge Lane making the criminal complaint public.

“I have little to no information about this case, and I certainly don’t want to be finding out about it first from some media outlet from England or California or Texas or where ever. I don’t know if there’s a need to release it now,” Cohen said.

Cohen also told the judge the district attorney hasn’t shared all the evidence it has collected in the murder case.

“I don’t want this case tried in the media. I haven’t seen any search warrants, the returns thereof, and the evidence. I certainly don’t want that information in the public,” Cohen said.

Investigators say the boy raped and killed the girl after she left her aunt’s home in Chippewa Falls last month.

He’s charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, 1st Degree Sexual Assault Resulting in Great Bodily Harm and 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child Under the Age of 13. Two of the charges carry up to life in prison.

The teen is being held at the Eau Claire Juvenile Detention Center on a $1 million cash bond.

A status conference in the case was scheduled for June 24 at 9:30 A.M. in Chippewa County Circuit Court, allowing time for Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell to deliver materials to the defense and for the defense to review all of the case materials, then at the status hearing more court dates will be scheduled.

On Thursday, Judge Lane ruled against unsealing search warrants authorities have executed during their investigation after both the DA and defense objected to those documents being made public.

“All the search warrants, but two or three of them in particular, the reasoning for the sealing of them is because it has the victims identifying information. And because it is a search warrant it has a lot of identifying information regarding a lot of people,” Newell said.

The teen is being charged as an adult, but his defense team could petition to move the case to juvenile court. Our sister station WEAU reports a decision could take weeks and depends on what newly appointed defense attorneys advise for their client. Cohen said the defense will be seeking a preliminary examination for the boy.

The teen suspect told investigators he intended to rape and kill Lily when they left the house in Chippewa Falls together, according to Newell. The prosecutor said the suspect told investigators he hit Peters in the stomach and with a stick before strangling her to death and then sexually assaulting her.

The Chippewa County coroner said preliminary autopsy results found Lily Peters suffered strangulation and blunt force trauma.

Lily Peters was reported missing April 24 after she failed to return home from her aunt’s home. The fourth grader’s bicycle was found in the woods a short distance from her aunt’s home, near the Leinenkugel’s Brewery parking lot. Searchers found Lily’s body the next day.

The judge gave until June 23 for prosecutors to turn over materials and for the defense to review it.

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